March 27, 2014
- Fresh off a sweep of Michigan State to open the Big Ten schedule, the Ohio State softball team heads to Bloomington to take on Indiana in a three-game Big Ten series beginning on Friday at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's games are set for 1 p.m.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State is 15-14 overall after gaining a series sweep of Michigan State last weekend at Buckeye Field. The Buckeyes won the opener over the Spartans, 13-6, on Friday and then picked up two wins on Saturday by sores of 11-7 and 4-3.
At the plate, junior Caitlin Conrad leads Ohio State in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.376), home runs (six), doubles (eight), RBIs (23), slugging percentage (.706) and total bases (60). Senior Evelyn Carrillo checks in with a .356 average, 18 RBIs, six doubles and two home runs. Carrillo had a productive weekend against Michigan State, hitting .700 with two home runs and six RBIs.
In the circle, four different pitchers have seen significant playing time - junior Olivia O'Reilly (5-2, 2.58 ERA), junior Alex DiDomenico (3-3, 2.92 ERA), senior Melanie Nichols (4-5, 3.96 ERA) and freshman Shelby Hursh (2-4, 3.98 ERA).
FOLLOWING FROM HOME
A link to Gametracker for each game against Indiana can be found on the Ohio State softball schedule page on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS
Indiana is 8-21-1 on the season and 0-3 in Big Ten play after being swept by Michigan last weekend. The Hoosiers are led by head coach Michelle Gardner, who is in her sixth season in Bloomington. She came to IU after six season at Nevada, where she was the 2008 WAC Coach of the Year.
Redshirt senior Breanna Saucedo is the top hitter for Indiana. She has collected 100 at bats to gather a .340 batting average. Saucedo has also amassed 18 runs and 34 hits, all of which are team-highs. The top pitcher for IU this season is junior Lora Olson. She is 4-10 with an ERA of 4.18.
All-Time Series: Indiana leads, 54-38-2
OHIO STATE VS. INDIANA: A LOOK BACK TO 2013
Ohio State 9, Indiana 5
Offensively, Ohio State was led by Evelyn Carrillo, who went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Leesa Gresham was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored. Caitlin Conrad was 2-for-2 with two RBI, while senior Megan Coletta posted a pair of hits, including a double and two runs scored. Overall, Ohio State outhit the Hoosiers, 14-8.
In the circle, Melanie Nichols improved to 3-1 overall, throwing two innings, allowing two runs on one hit with a walk, while Olivia O'Reilly posted her first career save, working the final two innings, allowing no runs or hits with one strikeout.
Indiana 6, Ohio State 4
Ohio State held a 4-1 lead after the after the third inning, but the Hoosiers were able to notch five unanswered runs with a pair in the fourth, one in the sixth to tie the game and two additional runs in the ninth to earn the victory. Overall, Ohio State left 14 runners on base, while Indiana left 16 runners on base.
Alex DiDomenico fell to 7-3 overall, throwing the final 4.2 innings, allowing three runs (one earned), five hits, four walks and two strikeouts.
The big hit for Indiana was by lead-off hitter Brianna Meyer, who connected on a 3-2 pitch vs. DiDomenico in the top of the ninth for a two-run homer over the right field wall. In the bottom half, the Buckeyes had runners on second and third, including the tying run on second, but failed to continue the game as relief pitcher Meaghan Murphy claimed a strikeout and pop out to end the game, 6-4.
Ohio State 8, Indiana 2
The Ohio State offense notched 11 hits on eight runs against Indiana in game two, while DiDomenico limited the IU bats to two runs on three hits to improve to 8-3 overall in 2013 as Ohio State won 8-2 to wrap up the opening weekend at Buckeye Field.
Offensively, Ohio State was led by Watkins, who went 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, three runs scored and a season-high four RBI. Gresham was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Pickett went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored.
DiDomenico finished the game in the seventh to claim her fifth-complete game win of the season, limiting the IU bats to two runs (one earned) on three hits with five strikeouts.
CAREER RECORDS WATCH
Melanie Nichols, a fifth-year senior, is looking to work her way up the career record books for wins and strikeouts. In 2010, she made an instant impact as a freshman, going 21-3 with a 1.92 earned-run average of a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Nichols redshirted in 2011 while recovering from an injury and returned in 2012 to start 25 games (12-9, 3.45 ERA, 82 K). In 2013, Nichols went 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 51 Ks. Currently, she ranks sixth in all-time in wins (43) and sixth in strikeouts (302).
1. Kim Reeder (2006-09).................. 77
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.)....... 43
1. Jamee Juarez (2004-07)............. 747
5. Genice Turley (1994-95))............ 307
6. Melanie Nichols (2010-pres.)..... 302
In addition, senior Evelyn Carrillo is also climbing her way up the career lists in hits and runs batted in. The senior from Corona, Calif., has started 182 of 183 career games and currently ranks 17th in hits (176), just one shy of 16th place. Her 125 RBIs are good for eighth place.
1. Anna Smith (1999-02)................ 243
17. Marla Pickard (1991-94)............ 185
15. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.) ...... 183
1. Sam Marder (2007-10)............... 191
5. Kristine Himes (2000-03) ........... 138
6. Evelyn Carrillo (2011-pres.)........ 131
BUCKEYES' BAT COME ALIVE VS. MSU
Ohio State's offense posted several impressive numbers in its Big Ten-opening sweep of Michigan State. As a team, the Buckeyes hit .432 with 38 total hits, nine doubles, one triple and five home runs. Additionally, several players enjoyed big weekends, including:
Evelyn Carrillo........ .700, two HR, 6 RBI
Cammi Ptantl............ .600, 3 2B, 6 runs
Keelia Nester............. .571, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Caitlin Conrad..... .455, 5 RBI, 1 2B, 1 HR
Overall, seven different players hit over .300 for the series.
A MARKED IMPROVEMENT
Several Buckeyes are enjoying significant statistical improvements at the plate from 2013 to 2014, including senior Melaina Saalfeld, junior Caitlin Conrad and sophomore Jayla Saibene.
Player........................................ 12-13. 13-14 Diff.
Caitlin Conrad.............................. .285. .376 +.091
Jayla Saibene............................... .214. .255 +.041
Melaina Saalfeld.......................... .193. .259 +.066
PLAYING THE BEST
The Buckeyes' non-conference schedule will once again test Ohio State against some of the nation's elite. In all, OSU will play at least 16 games against teams that qualified for last year's NCAA Tournament, including eight against squads that advanced to the Women's College World Series. Additionally, Ohio State plays 15 games against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason Top 25 poll. Nine of those games are against Top 10 teams. Below is Ohio State's all-time record against team's currently in the nation's power conferences, including the Pac-12, Big XII, Big East, SEC and ACC.
EXPERIENCED COACHING STAFF
Ohio State's coaching staff of Kelly Kovach Schoenly, Amanda Buchholz, Jenna Hall and Megan Coletta has 36 years of combined experience either playing for coaching in the Big Ten. Kovach-Schoenly was four-year starter at Michigan and was an assistant coach for nine years at Penn State. Buchholz was a starting shortstop at Nebraska from 2000-03 and a volunteer assistant coach with the Cornhuskers for six years as a volunteer assistant. Hall played at Illinois for four years and is the school's all-time leader in career and single season batting average. Coletta wrapped up her four-year playing career with the Buckeyes last spring.
MICHIGAN STATE REWIND
Ohio State 13, Michigan State 6
Led by senior Evelyn Carrillo (4-for-4, two home runs, three RBIs) and sophomore Cammi Prantl (3-for-3, two RBIs), the Ohio State softball team erupted for a season-high 18 hits on its way to a 13-6 victory over Michigan State in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Ohio State struck for four runs in the first inning on five hits, the biggest coming from Caitlin Conrad, who ripped a double into left center and a two-run double by catcher Erika Leonard. Taylor Watkins, Jayla Saibene and Carrillo also had hits during the inning.
The Buckeyes proved their big first inning was just a preview of things to come, as they scored four more times in the bottom of the second. This time, all the damage came with two outs as Saibene started the rally with a double to right center, followed by a single up the middle by Carrillo. Leonard then singled to the shortstop and Melaina Saalfeld doubled to right center, scoring Carrillo. Prantl plated two more runners with a double to make the score 8-0.
Overall, five different Buckeyes recorded multiple hits. Carrillo's four hits matches her career high (also set this year vs. Long Beach State) and her two home runs are a career high.
Ohio State 11, Michigan State 7
Ohio State scored 10 runs in the last three innings - including six in the bottom of the sixth - for an 11-7 comeback victory over the Spartans. Caitlin Conrad powered the offense, going 2-for-5 with a three-run home run and five RBI while pitchers Audrey Plant and Olivia O'Reilly combined to pitch 4.1 innings of relief, scattering just four hits while striking out two.
The Buckeye comeback began in the bottom of the fourth when they trailed 7-1. Jesse Machovina led off the frame with a triple and following a Keelia Nester walk, Conrad drove Machovina home with a single up the middle. Evelyn Carrillo singled down the left field line to drive home two runs to make the score 7-4.
In the sixth, Saibene reached second base on an error by the right fielder and eventually was driven home on a single by Erika Leonard. A sacrifice fly by Machovina tied the score 7-7 and Nester's RBI single completed the comeback, giving Ohio State an 8-7 lead. Conrad then stepped to the plate with two on and belted the first pitch of her at bat over the right field fence to give the Buckeyes an 11-7 lead.
Ohio State 4, Michigan State 3
Carrillo delivered what proved to be the game-winning hit in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single to right center field as Ohio State held on for a 4-3 win in the day's second game.
The Spartans got on the scoreboard first thanks to a two-run home run by Carly Nielsen in the top of the second. In the bottom of the frame, Ohio State struck for three runs, keyed by a three-run home run by Prantl that scored Saalfeld and Anna Kirk.
In the fourth, Michigan State pushed across the equalizer on an RBI single from pinch hitter Stephanie Sanders. The score remained tied at 3-3 until the bottom of the fifth when Conrad started off the inning with a single to right center. Watkins followed with a sacrifice bunt, advancing Conrad to second. She took third base on a wild pitch and then was driven home when Carrillo laced a single to right center that hit the wall.
Michigan State had a base runner in both the sixth and seventh innings but neither of them advanced past first. O'Reilly pitched a complete game, giving up six hits while striking out five. She earned her team-leading fifth win of the year.
FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES
Fans can follow Ohio State softball on the web and through social media via the following outlets: